Faith vs. Works

Are you part of a Wesleyan or Calvinist church? In my understanding, the main difference is whether you have a faith based or works based theology.

As a member of a Wesleyan denomination, we take the words of James 2:26 ASV very seriously. For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.

In other words, as a Christian we are expected to demonstrate our faith by the way we serve God & man. Just being a “good person” will not win us a spot in Heaven.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. – Matthew 7:21-23 ASV

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The Key to the Master’s Orders

By Oswald Chambers

Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. —Matthew 9:38

The key to the missionary’s difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work— that is, not work as the word is commonly used today, which often results in the shifting of our focus away from God. The key to the missionary’s difficult task is also not the key of common sense, nor is it the key of medicine, civilization, education, or even evangelization. The key is in following the Master’s orders— the key is prayer. “Pray the Lord of the harvest….” In the natural realm, prayer is not practical but absurd. We have to realize that prayer is foolish from the commonsense point of view.

From Jesus Christ’s perspective, there are no nations, but only the world. How many of us pray without regard to the persons, but with regard to only one Person— Jesus Christ? He owns the harvest that is produced through distress and through conviction of sin. This is the harvest for which we have to pray that laborers be sent out to reap. We stay busy at work, while people all around us are ripe and ready to be harvested; we do not reap even one of them, but simply waste our Lord’s time in over-energized activities and programs. Suppose a crisis were to come into your father’s or your brother’s life— are you there as a laborer to reap the harvest for Jesus Christ? Is your response, “Oh, but I have a special work to do!” No Christian has a special work to do. A Christian is called to be Jesus Christ’s own, “a servant [who] is not greater than his master” (John 13:16), and someone who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls us to no special work— He calls us to Himself. “Pray the Lord of the harvest,” and He will engineer your circumstances to send you out as His laborer.

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Thank you for stopping by today. Please feel free to share your thoughts. This is a safe place!

8 comments

  1. I agree that programs and activities can be counterproductive and even harmful. We need to get our theology right. Calvinism is a helpful memory tool, but isn’t a great way to start understanding God and his work.

    Therefore, regarding the two trains of thought you mentioned, our church is neither. We believe in interpreting the scripture with sound biblical theology. That doesn’t start with Calvin or Wesley. But we might agree with Calvin and Wesley on many points – but only when what they wrote conforms to a right thinking about the scriptures and proper interpretation.

    Therefore, any teaching that follows the line of thinking that conforms to Christ’s encouragement to read the scriptures to see him and that gives glory to God is accepted. That includes any systematic theology that doesn’t stray from the biblical theology. Calvinism is generally a systematic theology. Most people read God’s word with a systematic theology or a predisposition or set of opinions. Often these are just man’s thoughts. That starting point often introduces problems if done with a wrong foundation.

    If any person gets biblical theology wrong, the likelihood that their systematic theology will have deficiencies increases. So, we would not subscribe to the “health and wealth” thinking or any thinking that diminishes God’s glory. It is far too easy to take a single verse in any chapter in any of the books of scripture and come up with flawed thinking. I have done it. Everyone I have met has had the same problem. One example is the way the story of David and Goliath is often taught and preached. It isn’t about conquering your giants.

    The only works that I do that have merit are those that are based on faith. Faith without works is dead. Works without faith are also dead. Loving God means I will love others. That requires work.

    Capitol Hill Baptist Church has some excellent free resources for various aspects of the Christian walk. One course that is very well done is one on biblical theology. I think every Christian would benefit from that study.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Barb! Hoping all is well with you!
    Faith v. works can be a slippery slope. Here is what I believe and teach: Faith, which is itself a gift from God, will
    produce good works out of our gratitude to God for salvation. In this light, works are a result of faith, not proof that it exists for we can in no way earn our salvation by works.
    Great question. I hope it spurs much conversation.
    Blessings,
    Chuck

    Liked by 2 people

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